pimento cheese

Sweet, sweet, Southern pimento cheese.

pimento cheese on baguette with pickled carrots

My dad’s job took our family from Colorado to North Carolina when I was 11. There are a couple of memories that stand out from that time: looking out the airplane window and being awed by the endless canopy of trees on the ground below. Threats of disownment from relatives if we ever started using words like y’all and ain’t. Babies drinking sweet tea, and the container of neon pimento cheese spread (first ingredient: “processed cheese food”) always stocked in the fridge at my friend’s house. One taste turned me off to the stuff for the next 16 years.

Time brings change. We wandered deeper into the south. I got a taste of pimento cheese made with real cheddar. I’ve even become quite fond of the word y’all. Before I know it, I’ll be feeding sweet tea to babies! :) What’s become of me?!

This recipe was my attempt to recreate a pimento cheese that Eli’s aunt swears by, a brand made with real white cheddar and sold at Winn Dixie in Jacksonville, Florida. Anyone know what it’s called? She brought it to a gathering down at the farm and got me hooked. This stuff is crazy delicious. If the process didn’t involve a run to the store for pimentos, I’d be in the kitchen making another batch right now.

(special thanks to Eli for pointing out that I’ve been unconsciously punctuating y’all as ya’ll my entire life. aghhhhh!)

a bowl of pimento cheese

 

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Pimento Cheese

What sort of cheese, you ask? I’d say use sharp white cheddar or a blend of cheddar and jack. I use greek yogurt to get a pimento cheese that’s a little less rich, but you can sub mayonnaise for a true Southern spread. If you go with the yogurt, might I also recommend going with the cheddar/jack blend, so it’s not too tart?

6 ounces cream cheese, softened

9 ounces (2 1/4 cups) shredded cheese

1/2 a cup plain greek yogurt

2-ounce jar finely diced pimentos, drained

1 tablespoon pickle juice

about a tablespoon of minced white onion

a pinch of paprika

a pinch of black pepper

a dash of hot sauce

Mix all ingredients by hand or with an electric mixer until spreadable. Or you can pulse everything in a food processor a couple of times until smooth, but not pureed. Let chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving.

 

 

 

 




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